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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Local police are working together to find a suspect they believe was involved in two separate sexual assault cases that occurred this weekend during and after the delayed Gators football game.

At about 9:20 p.m. Saturday, Gainesville Police responded to a woman screaming near an area north of the stadium, located at 1824 NW Second Ave. Officers arrived to find a 21-year-old female victim who had been punched in the face. 

The man had fled the scene and is still at large. He ripped off the victim’s clothes as he attempted to sexually assault her, according to GDP Lt. Dan Stout.

After the victim fought off the 6-foot-5-inch, heavy-set white man, he fled the scene wearing a blue Gators shirt, blending in with hordes of fans huddling from the rain and leaving the stadium. Stout said he had closely cut, brown hair and a beard.

A little after 1 a.m. Sunday, a similarly described man with an orange Gators shirt was involved in an assault near the north side of Norman Hall.

The victim was walking home from the then-canceled football game when a man jumped her from behind, according to University Police Capt. Bart Knowles.

Stout said the man dragged the second victim along the sidewalk and into the woods along the edge of campus, where he attempted to sexually assault her.

“When he pulled her down, there were luckily some witnesses not far behind her who heard her screams,” Knowles said. “At that time, the suspect took off.”

The man fled on foot on to campus after being chased off by witnesses, at which time responding officers requested assistance from the GPD K-9 Unit.

Officers continued to patrol the area well into the morning. At about 2:40 a.m., UPD received a call from a witness who said a man matching the reported description was near the Williamsburg Village apartments, just east of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

The witness told police the suspect asked for a ride to the ABV Motel at 1900 SW 13th St., where officers and the GPD K-9 Unit responded. They knocked on each hotel door and were again unsuccessful in locating the suspect.

“As of right now, UPD detectives are working with GPD detectives to either verify or rule out the possibility that both incidents involved the same suspect,” Knowles said.

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Police ask that any information or suspicious activity be directly reported to UPD at 352-392-1111 or GPD at 352-955-1818.

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 9/2/2014 under the headline "Separate sexual assaults followed canceled game"]

A forensic crime unit truck parks in front of the crime scene at Inner Road and SW 13th St.

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